When Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson announced their marriage in 1994, they astonished their fans. At first, many people couldn’t determine if the marriage between Elvis Presley’s daughter and the pop sensation was legitimate. As the marriage progressed, more doubts and concerns about the connection arose. When the pair chose to split, Presley explained why she left Jackson after nearly two years of marriage.
The King of Pop and Elvis Presley’s daughter met for the first time during a concert in Las Vegas in the 1970s, but did not get to know each other until nearly two decades later, when they dined with a mutual friend in Los Angeles. She was married to Danny Keough at the time of their reunion, and they had two children, Riley and Benjamin.
Jackson and Lisa Marie were instant friends and spoke on the phone frequently, but their relationship did not go further right away. The “Thriller” singer was then accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old child named Jordan Chandler in the summer of 1993, which he adamantly denied. In the midst of the inquiry, he went to Lisa Marie for assistance.
Presley and Danny Keough divorced in May 1994, and Presley married Jackson a few days later. For several weeks, the pair kept their marriage a secret until Presley issued a public declaration in August 1994.
“My married name is Mrs. Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson. My marriage to Michael Jackson took place in a private ceremony outside the United States weeks ago,” the bride later announced in a statement to the media. “I am very much in love with Michael. I dedicate my life to being his wife. I understand and support him. We both look forward to raising a family.”
Jackson and Lisa Marie had finished their relationship by December 1995. The next month, she filed divorce papers and announced their separation. In August of 1996, they were able to close the case.
Judge Hugo Francisco Alvarez Perez, who performed the singers’ wedding, subsequently told Entertainment Weekly, “They lasted longer than I thought they would. I gave them a year. They lasted a year and a half.”
Even so, Jackson’s quip at the MTV Awards in September 1994, “Just think, nobody thought this would last,” was prophetic — the pair divorced less than a year later. The ultimate straw was in December 1995, but Lisa Marie admitted that the issues had existed for much longer, including her husband’s most absurd demand.
According to CNN, Lisa Marie Jackson told Jackson to “Beat It” by filing for divorce in January 1996, barely 15 months after their married.
Lisa Marie’s choice to leave him may sound callous, but it was motivated by her growing realization that her husband’s damaging behavior would not alter. Furthermore, when she went to the hospital to be with him, Jackson only allowed her to remain in the room for a certain amount of time.
“The hardest decision I have ever had to make, which was to walk away and let his fate have him, even though I desperately loved him and tried to stop or reverse it somehow,” she later explained.
Two people fall in love, raise a family, and live happily ever after, right? Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were not like that. According to a feature published in The Washington Post in 1996, “The newlyweds reportedly lived apart in their respective mansions, but they appeared together — n-de, but tastefully draped — in Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone” video.
According to those closest to the pair, including Adrian McManus, who worked as Jackson’s personal maid at his Neverland Ranch, this separate arrangement made sense. She told the Daily Mail that she “never saw them have any real genuine romantic interaction” while together. Presley allegedly paid a few visits to Jackson’s house, but “never even stayed over in his room that I can remember; Michael always made her stay in the guest unit or Rose Room,” according to McManus. Take this housekeeper’s gossip with a grain of salt, but it’s clear that this type of reporting explains why the famous couple separated so swiftly.
Presley recounted Jackson passing out on stage during a rehearsal for an HBO special during a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey. She claimed she had no idea what went wrong, but that her intuition told her that illicit narcotics were to blame.
Presley also said that when she picked up Jackson from some of his doctor sessions, he was sometimes incoherent. Presley said Jackson would “manipulate” her and everyone around him, despite her doubts.
She explained Jackson’s manipulative behavior by saying, “He was brought up that way. He was conditioned to get himself where he needed to go for his career, and he became very good at making and creating and puppeteering. I always confused that manipulation thinking that it meant he didn’t love me. But I understand it better now. The manipulation was a survival tactic for him.”
Elvis Presley’s daughter had left her first husband, Danny Keough, and two young children, Danielle Riley, four, and Ben, to be with Michael. Michael began pressing for children while she was still grappling with what she had done.
Lisa Marie said: “I was trying to process what I had done. I could never feel good about it. How could I have done that to someone? And I had these two little ones…”
Not only was Michael forcing her to have children, but he also intimated that someone else, Debbie Rowe, was waiting in the wings to have his children.
Debbie met Michael Jackson while working for physician Arnold Klein, who was treating him for vitiligo, a skin pigmentation disorder.
Lisa Marie requested for more time before having children. She recalls: “I know she (Rowe) was there the whole time telling him she would do it. He would tell me, ‘If you’re not gonna do it, Debbie said she’ll do it.’
“And we would get into arguments because that wasn’t how to handle it. But that’s how he knew how to handle it: ‘If you’re not going to do it, this person will. Are you going to do it or not?'”
Presley appeared to be at her wit’s end at the end of their brief relationship. Jackson’s ex-wife pinpointed the precise time when relations between her and her husband deteriorated in a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey. Presley informed the talk show host that she gave Jackson an ultimatum: “The drugs” and “vampires” or her.
By ‘vampires’, Presley was alluding to “sycophants” and the individuals Jackson maintained in his life who allegedly took advantage of him, according to Winfrey.
What’s a girl to do when Presley claims Jackson made his decision by pushing her away? It didn’t take Presley long to take the required procedures to dissolve their marriage for good, but did she just use situation to her advantage?
On January 18, 1996, Lisa Marie filed for divorce from Michael, citing “irreconcilable differences” as the basis. “Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. However, they remain good friends,” her publicist told the press the next day. On August 20, 1996, the couple formalized their divorce.